Miracle worker Orange Cassidy carries Chris Jericho to his best singles match in his whole AEW run.
AEW has done a great job protecting singles matches for Cassidy such that every time they come about, it feels like a big deal. And it certainly doesn’t get much bigger than a main event singles match against Chris Jericho. It also doesn’t get more challenging. As I wrote about extensively in my Year of Jericho series, Jericho is far past his physical prime and was always a limited worker to begin with. But when booked into the right position, he can still be a part of something pretty great.
Nothing quite as great to be part of than a high profile feud with Orange Cassidy. Cassidy’s easy magnetic charisma is such a delightful contrast to Jericho’s pained attempts at “character.” They’re perfect opponents for each other. Where Jericho’s constant attempts at change only continually expose how inorganic his rise to the top has been all these years, Cassidy’s easygoing persona does all the work for him.
Cassidy means business tonight. He comes in wearing the bloodstained shirt from a few Dynamites ago, showing that he’s going to actually try tonight. He tells the Best Friends to head to the back as he wants to go in alone. In contrast, Jericho comes out amidst pyro with his Inner Circle goons at his side. Seeing Cassidy take it to Jericho right away sets the perfect tone. Orange Cassidy is pissed and he’s going to try to get the win.
The babyface shine is so great with Cassidy working circles around Jericho. It’s one of the instances where Jericho’s physical limitations play well into the story of the match. He can’t keep up and that’s great to see because Cassidy is clearly so much better than him both in shoot and in kayfabe.
When the heel heat kicks in, it has every chance to descend into badness. It flirts with that for a bit but Cassidy compensates for Jericho’s inability to move with any urgency by bumping like a maniac. Cassidy’s selling is so on point and expressive, incredibly sympathetic without betraying anything about his character. There’s also some help from Santana & Ortiz outside interfering for some added smoke and mirrors to disguise Jericho’s limitations.
The comeback is as great as you’d like it to be. The highlight is probably Cassidy’s trademark soft kicks being used to lull Jericho into a false sense of security to keep him from blocking a Superkick. Such effective use of subversion of expectations where Cassidy is able to build on what his character has presented. Again, Santana & Ortiz interfere with some orange juice to the eyes of Cassidy but the Best Friends handle them to equalize things again. Cassidy hangs on for a few more hopeful minutes until a sudden Judas Effect lands Jericho the win. It’s a dirty win for sure and an incredibly lucky one as well. Jericho caught Cassidy with a lucky blow to cut off the building momentum.
This is a great match from one of the best wrestlers of the past decade leading Chris Jericho along to something special. Check it out in conjunction with the Cassidy vs. PAC match from Revolution to understand why so many people are so high on him. Orange Cassidy is something else.